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Santa Fund for Schoolkids a lifeline for Albemarle families

Even though school has been virtual for most so far this year, Albemarle County students are still in need of assistance with clothing.

Fran Clark, a family support worker at the county’s Greer Elementary, said she is still hearing from families that need assistance with purchasing clothing.

“Children still grow, and they still need clothes to wear to school, even though it’s virtual and the kids are on camera, and their peers are seeing them, and now some kids are in school,” Clark said.

The Santa Fund for Schoolkids, established in 1894, collects donations to provide vouchers for families to buy shoes, clothing, school supplies and other essentials for children in need.

Sponsored by The Daily Progress and radio station WINA in conjunction with The United Way of Greater Charlottesville, the Santa Fund serves children in the city of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange.

Greer has a large population of needy families, Clark said, and due to the pandemic, more parents are out of work or have had their work hours significantly reduced.

“Many of those folks for the first time have had to ask for help, and they do so very reluctantly, but they are so appreciative when we’re able to say there is help available,” she said.

Clark said there was a delay in receiving vouchers this year, but that families have still been grateful to receive them.

“Not only does it buy clothes, but it makes people feel a part of the community and that the community is there looking out for them,” she said.

Division spokesman Phil Giaramita said only about 90 vouchers had been redeemed in the school division so far this school year.

“In a normal year, the number of vouchers is between 350 and 400, so we have a way to go,” he said.

Clark said Greer receives 25 vouchers for $100 each, and staff at the school work with staff at Jack Jouett Middle School and Albemarle High School to try to spread the vouchers among families. They also help families seek out assistance at other area agencies when needed.

“The vouchers are a huge part of the support we get for clothing, and like my principal pointed out, there are food banks in the area where people can go a couple times a month and get food, but there are very limited resources for clothing,” she said. “Clothes are not a one-size-fits-all like food — you have to find the clothing in the right size and a style that the child will actually wear. That’s a bit trickier.”

This year’s Santa Fund goal is $175,000. Last year, $189,667.93 was raised, which set a new record.

So far this year, $25,621.94 has been raised.

Please mail all contributions to: Santa Fund, 806 E. High St., Charlottesville, VA 22902. Contributions also can be made at


» Anonymous, $500

» Jean Jones, $50

» Donald Van Hook, $100

» Remembering Ma, Daddy and Wilson, $125

» Robert and Annette Minnis, $100

» For Bennett, Cate, Elsy and Daisy, $400

» Deborah and Roscoe Howard Jr., $300

» In memory of Evelyn Barbour, $25

» In loving memory of Dilip Shome, $150

» In memory of Tiny and Mabel Haney and their Christmas lights, $250


RUNNING TOTAL: $25,621.94

GOAL: $175,000

TO REACH GOAL: $149,378.06


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